We sit down with Nokia’s Stephen Elop

Nokia World is still going strong in Abu Dhabi and we have plenty of coverage yet to bring you today, but one of those is of high priority: Executive Vice President, Devices & Services, Stephen Elop. Of course many of you know him as the former President and CEO of Nokia (until Microsoft agreed to buy the hardware division of Nokia in early September). That change will eventually result in Elop becoming Executive Vice President at Microsoft once the deal is finalized in early 2014.

In a roundtable discussion with a select few in the media, we were able to ask Elop about today’s announcements, which included the Lumia 1320, Lumia 1520 and Lumia 2520 and new Asha devices.

Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2

In regards to the Lumia 2520 Windows RT 8.1 tablet, the big question on people’s minds was how Microsoft would perceive the launch, considering the Surface 2 is launching today. Elop was quite prepared in his response, noting that Nokia went to great care to differentiate their Lumia 2520 from what Microsoft was offering. Such things as mobility (4G LTE), readability outdoors (ClearBlack, 650 nits display) and creating unique software experiences like StoryTeller, would all help distinguish the Surface 2 from the Lumia 2520.

Does Microsoft mind though? Even if Microsoft wanted the Lumia 2520 cancelled to avoid competition with their Surface 2, we’ve already explored how they couldn’t persuade Nokia to do so, without raising the ire of regulatory agencies overseeing the acquisition. Microsoft may not prefer it, but it’s clear Nokia believes in the 2520, a device that has been in the works for some time.

Who’s the Lumia 1520 geared for?

When it comes to the Lumia 1520, the Lumia with a massive 6-inch display, there is some question as to which market the device is aimed at. Whereas Elop notes that the Lumia 1020 is focused on “extreme imaging”, the Lumia 1520 still offers a versatile camera that most consumers will be impressed with, but with less audacious specifications. The display, however, is clearly the main attraction on the Lumia 1520 and according to Elop, productivity is the chief beneficiary of that massive offering. By allowing users to work in Office, utilize an optimized email client and do more with ease, the Lumia 1520 could be a workhorse.

Of course, you can’t deny that watching a movie or viewing images on the Lumia 1520 won’t be a hell of an experience and Nokia is banking that you’ll want to do that as well.

On Instagram

We had to ask: How does it feel to finally announce Instagram for Windows Phone? Of course Elop burst with laughter and there was a clear sigh of relief coming from head of Nokia’s Lumia reinvention. There’s no denying that Instagram was hounding both Microsoft and Nokia at every interview opportunity, and with today’s announcement, Windows Phone can finally move on.

Elop though was quick to point out that while it’s great to get Instagram, there’s more to the ecosystem than one app.  Nokia themselves have created quite a few unique and differentiating experiences that they hope consumers will notice when considering a Lumia.

Technology and the next big thing

In fact, Elop is less concerned with what the next big app should be for Windows Phone and is more focused on innovation and creating new experiences:

“Having every app doesn’t mean you win, it just takes you to par. [We’d rather] focus on certain differentiators: Design, imaging, location”

Citing the iPhone and how it “got touch right” (even though touch displays had been around for some time), Elop thinks we see the biggest “moves in technology” when “…there is major change in a user interaction models. You’ll see us work towards that.”

That kind of drive for innovation and redefining paradigms is what Nokia is banking on with their innovations in camera, display and location based technology. Whether or not it will resonate with consumers, remains to be seen. But so far, we like what we see.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Awesome, now ask why they keep crippling themselves by making everything a AT&T exclusive.
  • Seriously, no questions on the status of the relationship with VZW?
  • Gosh there's a bigger world out there. I don't think an event in Abu Dabi is really the place to b talking about your carrier issues.
  • It wouldn't be out of line to ask the OEM's CEO about their relationship with the largest wireless carrier in the country with the most sought after smartphone market in the world.
  • Yes it would. And I'm glad I didn't ask that question.
  • Did they mention why no stylus built into the unit after all its a "phablet".
  • Isn't the Galaxy Note the only "phablet" that does have a stylus? I could be wrong, but I don't hear about any other large phones having it. Btw, what would you use the stylus for on a WP? That's not an attack, I'm genuinely curious. I had a Note 8.0 tablet and never used my stylus. And I know mileage may vary, but I've never really understood what the main use of it is.
  • maybe to make hand written notes. ever tried to follow a presentation with a keyboard .. on a 6" device
  • Respectfully disagree. But please do dig into it and let us know what's going on with the NL929. Even if your information doesn't come from an interview with Elop.
  • I agree, I don't entirely see how it's out of line. It could have been asked in a very respectful manner... it is a question on many of their loyal customer's minds. We want to buy their products!
  • "It wouldn't be out of line to ask the OEM's CEO about their relationship with the largest wireless carrier in the country with the most sought after smartphone market in the world."
    First off, Elop is not the OEM CEO (anymore) so the question is really not for him at this point. Second the idea the US is the 'most wanted' smartphone market in the world is presumptuous at least.
    The US is not the largest nor the most accessible market in the world. It is also the iPhone beachhead and at this point the only market where iPhone seems to grow. Outside the US market though there is much, much more money to be made and it will require much less effort and investement to achive that. the US market is 'nice to have a stake in' but is far removed from the 'place to be'.
  • Until the sale of Nokia to MS is finalized, Elop is the CEO.  It's not slated to finilaze until the first quarter of 2014.  So first off you need to know what you are talking about.
  • The CEO of Nokia is Risto Siilasmaa, Elop is EVP, Devices and Services.
  • Yup, Risto Siilasmaa has taken over as CEO as Elop stepped down due to a "conflict of interest" with the ongoing deal.
  • Ah!  Yes!  You should have asked him about China.  And China Mobile.
  • And Asia is where the smartphone market the us is a very small slice of the pie
  • Probably because Verizon is more focused on their droid lineup and thinks of windows mobile as an after thought.
  • Windows phone. Not mobile lol.
  • Scratch the LOL - nothing funny about someone on a Windows Phone forum still, three years later, confusing WP with its predecessor.
  • Even some carriers and support agents are at it too.. more than often they don't like to be corrected always results in the "look", some take it on and laugh but most give the "look" where they want to punch you in the face for making them look what they are - stupid.
    Thay so sure that tie you with a chain will keep you their client
  • I'm not sure what you're talking about regarding the unlock codes. I have never had a problem getting AT&T to unlock one of my phones. Their website is easy, put in your IMEI and phone # and you usually get the unlock code in your email in about 24 hours. Unless you're trying to get them to unlock a phone you don't own or you don't pay your bill, then I could see them being difficult about unlocking a device.
  • Talking about paying full price for phone and having hard time to get unlock code
    What a shame. i had to leave my phone in u.s. becuse they refused giving me the unlock code.
    No metter how many times i said, PLEASE I'M travling out of u.s, PLEASE i need MY PHONE WITH ME
    Their stupid answers:
    Nokia and att has an Agreement...... and lots of crap
    AT&T, I HATE YOU!!!
  • ATT has unlocked all 4 Lumias that my family has. All bought in the last year.
  • So Verizon doesn't have their logo on Nokia phones??? Answer: yes they do! I must give ATT credit for offering its customers a wide range of devices even though they only really advertise Apple.  Verizon on the other had gets the bare minimun when it comes to windows phone which should be the opposite seeing that their once favorited OEM black berry is fading away. ATT's logo is actually barable on side of verizon's ugly 3" logo.
  • They have devices for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and the 620 is for a company that I've never heard of (begins with an A, but can't remember). The fact that they're coming out with their devices on the biggest and most established company first and then make devices for the others second is simply a good business practice. You don't appeal to the smallest group first and work your way up (at least not if you want to make any decent money).
  • That other phone company the 620 is on is called AIO. They are owned by ATT.
  • At the very least they need to provide unlocked options straight from them. Ignore the carriers.
  • u crying about carriers...see what they did to India... the Nokia loyal...Lumia prefering country gets 1320 the last and no dates at all for 1520... i expext 1320 to come in March... untill then a new device will come to haunt...
  • My thoughts exactly!!!@thundr51
  • AT&t REALLY shot themselves in the foot this time with the watered  down 1520. i wish it wasnt an exclusive despite being an att customer because they are not getting any $ from me unless they have a phone with +32gb and a bigger battery. MSD cards dont persuade me at all. 
  • Ask him of he wants to move to the US
  • You mean where his wife and kids still live
  • "Of course Elop burst with laughter and said do you still want Instagram when you already have 6tag" :D
  • I have found 6tag to be crap
  • And we can be sure when the official instagram app comes for Windows Phone 8, WP8 compatibility in 3rd-party instagram apps may be partially blocked by Microsoft upon instagram's request soon after.
  • I hope the official Instagram for Windows Phone 8 application doesn't cripple Instacam and Instagraph. If it does, well then the jokes on me for sticking with Windows Phone.
  • I've never tried 6tag cause I don't even use Instagram but my experience was with the 6sec, It caused my phone to crash few times and not to mention heating when browsing this app in particular.
  • I just hope the best for them and Microsoft. Ihope these announcements on NW 2013 won't go to waste.
  • That was brief. Waiting on the full "sit down" to be published.
  • +920
  • Wasn't much of an interview..
  • It is time for nokia to sell in u.s.a International versions of devices.
    i hate calling att for unlock code. HATE!
  • I agree, when I wanted to debrand att 920, there was no universal or us fw, only att and other carriers. Had to go with Argentina build
  • In before DJCBS makes incorrect and inappropriate comments about Elop. Ahh, feels good I won't have to read that shit for once.
  • Because if you want to read shit, all you have to do is read your birth certificate
  • Wtf?
  • Where is the question about when and whether there is going tobe a really high end Lumia with the optimum screen size of 4.8 to 5 inches?
  • Yeah, amazing as the 1520 looks I'm not sure I'm ready to move to something that big to replace my 920. Looks like we'll have to wait for WP8.1 and the next wave of devices next year. :(
  • Really @Winnabe? Do you think Elop was just going to spill the product map for Windows Phone because I asked? C'mon...that's not how this works.
  • I get it, I get it. But then, what better place to vent the tears of disappointment is there than the shoulders of my WP brethren!
  • Viejo puto
  • I love what he said about its not about getting every app because that is what brings you up to par. Instead they have been working in areas to differentiate their devices from android and iPhones and even other windows phones. This is why I like Nokia and I hope that mindset translates over to Microsoft
  • The trojan horse has spoken.
  • Lol no hate please im a Nokian accept it they team will have more money so what gives ??
  • The hater has also, still avoiding the fact that Nokia has been loosing money on Asha, Meego, Maemo, and Symbian for years prior to Elop arriving. Blackberry fans had undying devotion to them as well,....Look at what happening. At least Nokia has the insight to recognize that they don't have the revenue stream to support both a devices company (cell phones, tablets, etc) and services (Here maps, etc) and made the hard decision to sell, giving its share holders the opportunity to make some money and allow its community to keep facilities open allowing the community to keep jobs. Oh yeah, none of that matters to shallow narrow minded individuals like yourself.
  • Guess they liked it better for Nokia to crash and burn rather than be bought by MS.
  • We all know how that worked out for blackberry *cough*, they had a good thing with the playbook but personally for me it was DOA as it was rush semi-cooked off the production line.
  • Asha came after WP just saying
  • You mad, bro?
  • Any announcements regarding carriers? Is everything going to AT&T? No T-mobile love? I think I heard Verizon getting the tablet and how about Sprint? Maybe not lol but yea anything?
  • These were literally announced today. Be patient.
  • NO❗❗ :P
  • YES. ;)
  • Forget Tmo. Like sprint, they are the Apple child.
  • I said f**k this instash*t.
  • Exclusive and exclusives
  • Good to see Elop again; shame the interview was so short. Maybe there will be more later.
    What's this talk of optimised apps for bigger screens. Is this new mail app something from Nokia or Microsoft (not that it matters but it'd shut up the "MS are doing nothing haters" if they have done that).
  • I would like to know what is that disgusting fat worm still doing at Nokia. From the moment his intentions became clear, his ill-criminal-management paid off and he stepped down as CEO, he should have disappeared back into Redmond.
    Regulatory powers better also be on top of this.
  • Why are you pissed? Today Nokia showed beautiful products and new services under his leadership. Its to move on or move out.
  • Seriously, you still can't get it over with? No matter how obvious the conspiracy theories are, it still called theories. Unless someone came with a definite proves that stating Elop is planning to sell Nokia from the get go, regolatory powers won't have any needs to stop the deal. Oh ... wait ... let's ask NSA. Maybe they have tapping Elop's emails or phones. Maybe one of those emails or calls are to Microsoft and clearly stating about the selling plan.... NOT! (-_-)a
  • Lol!
  • Please don't insult worm by calling them Elop. He is the lowest living life living in entire universe. Even the worm are pround in front of Mr. Flop
  • ?
  • You're right. My apologies to worms around the World.
  • +520
  • If Elop doesn't become CEO of MS, I'll be pissed! They, the fucking investors, only want Mulully because they know he'll tare apart and destroy every hard work put into the new MS.
  • God forbid a Microsoft CEO to do the same Eflop did to Nokia. Although I would LMAO if it happened (I don't wish it, though. It's bad enough I'm being forced to look at other OEMs if Nokias destroyed because of the deal, I don't want to have to also search for a new PC operating system).
  • Are you God? If not, how do you know what's God have forbid and not? (-_-)a
  • You have zero understanding of the English language. I'd advise you not to use it.
  • Well ... You said, "God forbid bla bla", and I ask how do you know that God actually forbid or not. Which part of that is wrong? Or to you, anyone oppose your way of thinking has zero understanding of english? Then, enlighten me, PROFESSOR... (-_-)a
  • Nice comeback bro! Lol. Its clear he's a hater or just too passionate
  • "God forbid" is what in the English language one calls an "idiom". It's an expression used to transmit hope that something doesn't happen, that a certain result doesn't materialize. Another variation of the same idiom is "heaven forbid". I hope you've learned something and next time don't make a fool of yourself by trying to be witty and failing. F.
  • Well. You got it wrong again. "God forbid" is Americans idiom, not English idiom. So instead of having zero understanding of English, you should say that I have zero understanding of American slangs/cultures. And it's true. I'm not American. I live at third world countries. And most of third world countries are formally learing Oxford English a.k.a british English. So none of us learning American cultures. Heck we even didn't learn British cultures. We only learn the languange itself. Unless WPCentral is strictly American website for Americans only, the common senses are a lot of users came from non-American region, which is most of them do not understand American idioms. Thanks for the lesson about idioms. But you should pick a better words when explaining to other people without offending someone..
  • From what news I've read so far Nokia is heading a positive path. You seem to be the only one crying and cringing in the corner. Elop is charismatic and smart and i hope he becomes CEO of MS.
  • Let the deal happen and you'll see. Let it happen and in a year from that date, we talk again.
  • Lol! Guess we'll find out a year from from the date it happens. I'm optimistic though.
  • You're optimistic, I'm pessimistic based on years of experience with Microsoft. Lets see how it turns out ;) (though I'm praying we won't even see it because I'm hoping the shareholders veto the deal)
  • Why you sticking with MS after years of negative experience. Go try Apple or Google products. Their more popular.
  • Tell what role you think elop had at ms before he went to Nokia go ahead google it I'll wait
  • He still alive.....................
    Somebody please kill this guy. World will be a better place without Elop or .....Flop.
  • Why would you put the blame of killing to others? Why don't you kill him yourself? (-_-)a
  • If I can, then I would done long time ago.
  • Well ... the strange part is, everyone who want him dead, never have the guts to finish him themselves. The prove? He still alive. And you even wishing that he got sick. Now, since Steve Jobs was pased away due to cancer, I wonder who cast the magic spell ... (-_-)a
  • If all else fails, I'm counting on diabetes to give him what he deserves.
  • He derseves more like Cancer, HIV AIDS, Malaria, and much more.
  • To wish anyone ill health is pathetic and uncalled for. You are worse than the person you are wishing it for. 
  • so, you are spiritual advisor.
    He is evil living in human flesh. I don't think we are commenting anything wrong.
  • Man as much as I hate moderated forums its time to get the ban hammers out
  • I'm wondering when will you curse Google's Schmidt since he blatantly doing evil... In my case, no matter how I dislike something, I can never bring myself to hate it unless that something is doing some unforgiveable things to my personal life. I guess I can never understand your way of thinking (-_-)a
  • Cancer is an horrible desease.
    I hate him and wouldn't mind see him gone from this World, but I would NEVER wish him to have cancer. Nor him nor anyone.
    That's a line I do not cross.
  • It will be better without you I think...
  • hahaha you know he is a mediocre person just by looking at his suit and shirt, I mean you can not regularly judge a book by the cover but, cmon he is the bloody CEO! he is supposed to give a good image isn't he? not only has he got the means to buy a proper suit, it is part of his job!!!  
  • Tell that to the deceased Steve Jobs.
  • Steve Jobs was a hippie. Always was and Apple products benefited from that because it allow them to attack Microsoft's conservative look. Eflop isn't a hippie. At best he's the example of the capitalist swine (not to be confused with a normal capitalist). And even as a capitalist swine he fails.
  • I'm not sure where the failure is. And why are you on wpcentral? Shouldn't you be at Androidcentral campaigning Elops failures? Today is a happy day for Nokia and WP. Here you're doing negative campaigns.
  • the failure is in his attempt of wearing a suit
  • He looks fine to me. You can be a CEO but also a human being. I think you and the other guy need to get together and have a beer. There you can hold hands and talk all the Elop/ MS conspiracy theory you to want.
  • I do not have any conspiracy theory, I'm just saying he looks quite mediocre to be the CEO of a MNE, more like a back office employee than a C-level guy. 
  • Again he looks fine to me. And I prefer a real person than a fake person in their $1000 dollar suit.
  • Is that really matters to you? I don't care what the CEO wearing as long as he can do his works to manage the company and in turn, deliver great products to us customers.
  • Right on!
  • I always wonder about all these Elop haters, what phone are they using prior to Windows Phone, are they really the stern supporters that go with Nokia with all the previous platforms.
  • What are you even talking about mate? I am not a supporter of anything/anybody, I had an iphone4 because when it launched it was the best smartphone imo, now I have a 920, because I am tired of apple and think wp8 is acceptable, I will not continue if they keep so lagged I'll either go for a galaxy or back to iphone, I'm a buyer, not a supporter. I noted his baggy suit, which I think is not appropriate for a CEO, where's the hate n that?
  • To each his own, everyone has their own personal taste and preference - hence the word personal. Just because you don't like it that doesn't mean they will dress to please you.. eash.
  • the suit does not fit him, it is not a matter of personal taste, it is a matter of buying a suit of your size
  • Maybe he's the new gangster.
  • LMAO! For real!
  • The man can't even get a proper suit. Being a CEO means you're also the face of your company. His face is bad enough, not being able to get a proper suit just transmits an image of sloppiness (ok, Balmer's sweaty shirts are even worse). As for you question: I own a Nokia (I own Nokias for 15 years). I will own a Nokia until the day Nokia stops being an independent, free company. If Nokia had gone with Android, I would be in Android Central. If Nokia had gone with iOS, I'm be at iMore. I'm with Nokia and only with Nokia.
    Nokia went with Windows Phone, so I'm here, because this is the best site to get news for the OS my Nokia has.
    The day Nokia's gone from the smartphone business (and I hope that won't happen) I'm moving to Android, you can be sure of that ;)
    And "negative campaigns"? My only campaign is against this swine and what he did to the company I love. I don't have any particular beef against Microsoft nor WP, contrary to popular belief. I hate it's such an undeveloped OS but that's the fault of the people in charge of it, not of the concept of the OS. If MS does something good, I praise them. If they do stupid things, I criticize them.
  • His Lindberg glasses are super expensive though :D
    Can't tell I work in an opticians at all..
  • Why does everyone think Microsoft would want to stop Nokia from producing a Windows RT tablet or a tablet period?  This is a win for Microsoft.  They actually want more OEMs producing Windows RT tablets, because they see it as the future of tablet computing.  I don't even see this a competing agains the Surface at all.  This device just provides Windows users another option with some slightly different capibilities and features.  Again, this is a win for the Windows ecosystem.
  • ^This..... +520 :)
  • any information on why they didnt add stylus for either of the device?
  • lol if the phone was coming out on big red then u bitches wouldnt been complaining   omg   switch to att done   i have no complaints with att  i left verizon cause their phone selection suck ass